Whipper Billy Watson

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Real Name - William Potts
Lifespan - 6/25/16 - 2/4/90
??? - East York, ONT
Aliases - Billy Potts
Athletic background - Wrestling
Peak Years - `47-`61

Place in History - There are a handful of pro-wrestlers who were simply iconic figures in their home regions and "Whipper" Billy Watson is one of those men. He gained his seasoning abroad in the late 30s and settled back in Toronto developing a partnership with promoter Frank Tunney. He became known as "The Whipper" for his use of the Irish whip and his programs with Gorgeous George, Gene Kiniski, Nanjo Singh and The Shiek elevated him to celebrity status in Toronto. In 1947, Watson's hard work paid off when he won a version of the World title from the fearsome Bill Longson in St. Louis. During the early 50s, Watson frequently challenged NWA Champion Lou Thesz in Canada and in March of `55 he won the title in a controversial fashion. Watson had a successful reign, frequently defending against future champions like Pat O'Connor and Dick Hutton as well as feared heels like Hard Boiled Haggerty and Hans Schmidt. Watson might have been selfish in the ring, but he did perhaps more charity work than anyone in pro-wrestling's history. He dropped the title back to Thesz after ten months, but remained a strong challenger to Thesz, Hutton, O'Connor and Buddy Rogers in the late 50s and early 60s. As Watson hit fifty, he was beginning to put on extra weight and was mainly working tag matches to protect himself. In 1971, Whipper Watson's career met a sudden and sad end, while he was stopped at a car accident and another car hit him. Watson's left leg was crushed and he nearly lost it, but his in-ring career was over. He continued to do charity work and received the Order of Canada in `73 and the Order of Ontario in `87. Watson retired to Florida and died of a heart attack at the age of 74. One of pro-wrestling's legendary figures, greatest drawing cards and most generous celebrities, Whipper Billy Watson is a true credit to the sport.

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